The most divisive, fascinating, embittering and dramatic presidential election campaign in recent memory came to an end in the wee hours of Tuesday. Now America votes.

More than 200 million people are eligible to cast ballots, finally deciding between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Trump, a billionaire first-time candidate whose political debut was initially seen as a circus act, bested 16 other Republicans for the right to face Clinton, who has lived and breathed campaigns and elections for more than 40 years.

On Tuesday morning most polling places on the East Coast were already reporting that voters were waiting over an hour to vote.

Hillary Clinton was one of the first in line on Tuesday morning as she and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, voted in Chappaqua, New York.

Donald Tump meanwhile cast his vote at 11am on Tuesday, showing up to his polling place with wife Melania, daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and granddaughter Arabella.

When asked after he voted if he would concede should the networks call the race for Clinton, Trump said: ‘We’ll see what happens.’

Most tracking polls show Trump leading Clinton by just a few percentage points heading into the final hours of the election.

‘It is the most humbling feeling,’ said Clinton after casting her ballot on Tuesday.

‘I know how much responsibility goes with this.’

After casting her vote, many cheered for Clinton as she went around hugging some of those who were there and shaking hands with others waiting to vote.

Trump got a far frostier reception outside his polling spot, where he was greeted by a

The USC/LA Times Daybreak tracking poll shows Trump leading Clinton by three percentage points, 46.8%  – 43.6%, which is less than the lead of six percentage points he had at one point over the summer.

In a four-way race, the IBD/TIPP presidential tracking poll shows Trump with a two-point lead over Clinton, 45% to 43%, with Gary Johnson getting 7% and Jill Stein 2%.

When Stein and Johnson are taken out of the equation, it is Clinton who leaded trump by a percentage point in that poll.

Real estate tycoon Trump has built a devoted following of tens of millions, including large numbers of Americans who have never voted before.

Along the way he angered some in the Republican Party establishment who saw him as a reckless insult-generator destined to alienate large swaths of the American electorate.

Clinton and her 800-strong campaign team stitched together an agenda that was unremarkable for a typical Democrat, save for a leftward tilt brought about during an unexpectedly strong primary challenge from Senator Bernie Sanders.

She pledged to raise the minimum wage, provide paid medical leave, build infrastructure, and try to reform the nation’s immigration system.

But with Republicans likely to keep control of Congress, one of her chief requisite challenges will be to play defense and protect Obama’s legacy from continued GOP attacks – while protecting her own administration from investigations that Republicans have already telegraphed.

Clinton pulled off an organized, scripted, and visually stunning convention that whipped up the party faithful, tended to interest groups – and crystalized concerns about Trump’s anti-immigrant appeals and a proposed Muslim immigration ban with a passionate speech by a Gold Star father whose son died in Iraq.

Trump, who crushed Republican opponents through improvised and slashing attacks, immediately engaged, staging a Twitter and TV war with Khizr Khan in an unorthodox moves that caused a media frenzy but failed to appeal to centrist voters he needed.

Trump gave his enemies ammunition by repeating more than 500 times a pledge that as president he would wall off America from Mexico, stemming the flow of narcotics and human chattel while defending the border from an unchecked flood of immigrants with no legal right to be in the U.S.

More damaging still was a series of episodes that angered feminists and other powerful women in a year when Trump was running against America’s would-be first female president.

His candidacy brought women out of the woodwork to accuse him of sexual misconduct of varying severity, including one woman who sued him for an alleged teen rape – and then withdrew the case when her story fell apart.

Trump denied every charge, calling his accusers rank opportunists who sought 15 minutes of fame. Some, he said, were Democratic plants, and others were cashing in.

He had a harder time explaining a hot-mic audio recording from a 2005 taping of ‘Access Hollywood,’ in which he was recorded lewdly describing the ease with which famous men could sexually assault women in their orbits.

Through it all, Trump’s campaign crowds grew, with his reality-show star power outdrawing every other candidate in both parties.

Trump’s massive media exposure created both fans and detractors, hardening positions on both ends of the political spectrum – and inside the GOP, where ‘NeverTrump’ Republicans pledged not to support him even at the cost of delivering the White House to a second Clinton.

Ultimately Trump won over most of his party’s establishment as he lent his charisma to fundraising events that benefited conservative candidates in other races.

But more importantly, an army of torch-bearing, pitchfork-wielding ‘Trumpkins,’ as his political enemies styled them, embraced his rough edges as signs of solidarity.

Clinton’s own weaknesses were just as hard to paper over.

For nearly the entire length of her campaign she had to contend with nonstop barrages of stories and charges about her conduct in the State Department, her husband’s foundation, and charges of ‘pay to play’ corruption.

The focus begin in part with the release of ‘Clinton Cash,’ a book that drew connections among the interlocking webs of Clinton donors, confidants, foreign governments and longtime friends.


Early voting numbers in North Carolina and Florida – two states that Donald Trump needs to win – suggest that Hillary Clinton may be underperforming President Barack Obama in 2012, while Trump is doing better than GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

In North Carolina, 305,000 fewer Republicans have turned out. However, Republican voters were trailing Democrats by 447,000 four years before and Romney won the state by 97,000, as Republican voters more prone to come out on Election Day then head to the polls early.

In Florida, Democrats are ahead by just around 33,000 votes. But, with 6.1 million early votes cast, that lead only amounts to .5 percentage points of the in-person early vote total. Back in 2012, Democrats had a 3.7 point advantage in early voting, which was enough to hold back Republican Mitt Romney from taking the state.

In March 2015, a bombshell rocked the campaign when it was revealed Clinton had maintained a private email server at her New York home. Then began the drip-drip-drip of thousands of State Department emails, which not only showed Clinton dealt with secret and sensitive matters on her, but brought forth an array of damaging stories.

The drumbeat grew so intense that even Sanders pronounced Americans ‘sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails’ in a primary debate.

After a lengthy investigation, FBI Director James Comey announced he would not recommend charges, but still called Clinton out for her ‘extremely careless’ behavior.

Wikileaks dumped the other trove of documents that defined the campaign, hacked emails from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. They exposed myriad internecine battles, cozy contacts with the press, and efforts to kneecap Sanders’ primary run.

They were also embarrassing and could continue to rattle careers inside Clinton’s inner circle. But the leaks, which U.S. officials link to a Russian government hack, didn’t appear to bring a major turn in the race.

Americans will learn Tuesday night whether history will remember Trump’s unusual approach as a groundbreaking innovation or as a one-off flop.

He said Monday that he’s not interested in becoming a chapter in a political science textbook.

‘If we don’t win, Trump said during his penultimate rally in new Hampshire, ‘it will be the biggest waste of energy, time and money in my whole life.’

The first result came in after midnight Tuesday, with the tiny community of Dixville Notch in New Hampshire casting their ballots as Monday became Tuesday. They backed Hillary Clinton by a vote of 4 to 2. Mitt Romney, the unsuccessful Republican nominee four years ago, won a surprising write-in vote.

It will be nearly 24 hours, and maybe longer, before the world knows whether the northern New England town was a bellwether.

Polls opened in some eastern states as early as 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, and the final votes will be cast in Alaska when it’s 1:00 Wednesday morning in New York – ending an election season that has enthralled and horrified in equal measure.

It’s impossible to tell when forecasters from TV networks and wire services will project a winner. In 2012 the race was called for President Barack Obama shortly after 11:00 p.m. Eastern time.

The Electoral College system provides one vote for each member of Congress, including both the Senate and the House of Representatives. A candidate needs to claim 270 votes, the smallest possible majority, in order to claim the White House.

If the margin is tight all evening and the result is in doubt, western battleground states like Nevada, Colorado and Arizona could turn the tide. Their polling places will be among the last to call it a night.

Both candidates are voting in New York, and there is one certainty about the victory party: It will be in New York City. The Trump and Clinton campaigns booked celebration venues just two miles apart in Manhattan.

New York City police officers will flood the streets Tuesday to prevent violence and disorder breaking out when the results are announced.

There are similarly massive security presences the nation as the FBI has put law enforcement agencies on alert for an ISIS attack. The CIA and other spy agencies are on guard for potential cyber attacks aimed at monkey wrenching the electoral process.

One public safety issue New York City won’t have to deal with is a promised fireworks display launched from a Hudson River barge as Clinton’s Election Night party declares victory.

Campaign officials withdrew their application for a pyrotechnics permit, limiting the risk of mockery if she were to lose.